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Canadian government invests in local asparagus

Local asparagus farmers can look forward to a helping hand from the federal government in growing their crop this year.

Haldimand-Norfolk MP Diane Finley last week announced a $512,700 investment from the federal government toward research to help grow local asparagus markets. The project aims to improve the amount and quality of asparagus yields, as well as developing new hybrid seeds to make the crops more resistant to disease.

The bulk of the research into new hybrids is being undertaken at the University of Guelph’s research station in Simcoe, where Finley made her announcement on behalf of federal agriculture minister Gerry Ritz.

A byproduct of that research has been the successful release of the Millenium seed, a superior cold-weather asparagus variety that has proven popular in both local markets and further afield in Nova Scotia, Quebec, Saskatchewan and the eastern United States. “This funding will allow the breeding program to continue to support a competitive Ontario asparagus industry into the future,” said Bernie Solymár, director of Asparagus Farmers of Ontario.

The project is funded under Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s AgriInnovation program, a five-year initiative that will provide up to $698 million to support research and development in agri-innovation.

“Our government remains committed to our farmers and the success of the agricultural sector,” Finley said. “Asparagus is an extremely important crop for us in southwestern Ontario, and this investment will help increase our competitiveness here in Canada and abroad.”

Ontario asparagus production is worth $20 million annually.

Source: norfolknews.ca

Publication date: 2/10/2014


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